Despite ten years of federal apathy to mitigate the United States’ contribution to climate change, governors and mayors across the U.S. have set the stage for a smooth transition into the next international climate change regime that we hope will set legally binding greenhouse gas emissions targets.
The State of Wisconsin, under the leadership of Governor Jim Doyle, has set ambitious renewable portfolio standards; renewable energy sources will serve 25% of the state’s energy demand by 2025. One Wisconsin dairy is converting cheese byproducts into ethanol to fuel vehicles. A glass making company that supplies glass for solar panels provides green jobs for Wisconsin residents.
Cities contribute 75% of the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions and New York City, under the leadership of Mayor Bloomberg, has initiated PlanYC to reduce the city’s emission levels by 30% by 2017. The Plan incorporates approximately 130 cross-sectoral initiatives to cut emissions, including planting one million new trees, implementing new energy codes that require energy efficiency retrofits for existing buildings, and installing sub-metering systems that provide transparency to tenants about their energy consumption.
Thanks to these innovative efforts, states and cities across the country are paving the way to a low carbon future.